Thursday, May 10, 2012

WildThings Writer's Warped Work

This week saw the demise of Maurice Sendak, one of the most prolific and talented illustrator's of children's books. Whereas his private life was not one to emulate, he captivated generations of children with his monster-like illustrations.

One of my favorite books was his 1963 offering "Where The Wild Things Are". The grotesque pictures frightened many a child (and their parents). His character Max tells his mother "I'll eat you up", somewhat out of place for a child's book of the 60's, yet the frightening creatures are lovable just the same, and it was this talent that engaged a child's imagination that made him so popular.

What is interesting, is that he was born in Brooklyn to a family of Polish Jewish refugees, and was deeply influenced by Walt Disney's "Fantasia" to make a career out of picture drawing. Also amusing, is that one of his earliest creations was doing the illustrations for a book called "Good Shabbos Everybody" (by Robert Garvey) (1951).

Children's books are a valuable resource for bonding a child with his parents. Parents who read bedtime stories to their kids reap the rewards of the child growing up wishing to emulate them and gain knowledge from books. Sadly, much of this may be lost to future generations as the electronic publishers gradually remove hard copies from the shelves.

Yet perhaps the most noble trait of an author/illustrator is to expand the imagination of the child. It is no coincidence, then, that several "Top 100 Child Book Lists" list "Where The Wild Things Are" as #1.

Perusing these lists sent me down memory lane, another of my favorite endeavors. On the way, I revisited some of my favorite story books. Among them:

The Carrot Seed

Harold and the Purple Crayon

The Lorax (and all other Dr. Seuss)

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel

Harry, the Dirty Dog

Goodnight, Moon

Curious George

Sheep in a Jeep

Caps for Sale

Rainbow Fish

Please add your favorites in the comments.


  1. All these classics you mentioned bring back such great memories! I especially loved The Carrot Seed since I was always under the impression that the little boy was Jewish! I wondered though, why his father did not wear a head covering.

  2. My all time favorite: Fox in Sox

    Fox: "Come now come now. You don't have to be so dumb now"

    Mr. Knox: "I can't blab such blibber blubber. My tongue isn't made of rubber"

    Fox: "Well then bring your mouth this way. We'll find it SOMETHING it can say"

    True words to live by

  3. Why do you call Sendaks oeuvre "warped"? I thought we were posting in a LH free zone!

  4. Aside from the question whether one may speak LH about the dead, I didn't mean "warped" in a bad way. I was only discussing the monsters in WTWTA, which certainly takes a "warped" mind to create.

    I may have sublimely had his lifestyle also in mind when I typed those words, which in my opinion is indeed warped.

    As for the message of WTWTA, the fact that it shows love between a boy and his mother (he turns down the kingship of the Wild Things to go where he is loved most, and his mother leaves his supper in his room, even after punishing him) is a most gratifying message, certainly has added to making it a classic.

  5. Who comes? Bray comes.

    Bray comes to sway with his word-play.

    Bray joins the fray and is here to stay.


    Yes, Fox in Sox is a favorite of mine also.
    There are too many Seuss books to include in this list, so I only chose my favorite of his.
    Green Eggs and Davar Acher is also tops.

  6. Mrs...

    You can't ask questions on a book.
    I've also wondered why his father didn't wear a Yarmulka.
    I've wondered why Curious George walks around all day wearing no clothes, but wears PJ's at night.

  7. Bray takes bites of fakes Somehow likes,
    Brays wit digs takes at Frumkeit Somehow makes

  8. Bim comes.
    Bom comes.
    Bim mocks Bom's krum.
    Bom mocks Bim's krum.

    Bom uncurls Bom's krum
    Bim straightens Bom's krum
    Bim's bends.
    Boms's bends.
    Bom's uncurling krum shakes
    Bim's straightening krum quakes

    Bom's ban. Bim's ban.
    Effective bans. Pig bans.

    Bim and Bom lead bans with decree.
    Bom's bans glee and Bim's bans Dead Sea.

    Pig ban! Glee ban!
    Big ban! Dead Sea ban!
    My poor brain can't think that. No, sir.
    My poor wits are much too slow, sir.

    Well then... bring your mind to think.
    I'll find something it khops uff ah vink.

  9. Let's have a talk about Blogger Battles:

    When a Blogger is faBiss-n
    Because he has no Hits'n
    And his Buddy "Bear" has many
    While he has hardly any...

    That is what we call a:

    Battled Battered Bitter Blabberer Babbling Barb Biting Beaten Beer Bellied Begrudging Beleaguered Belittled Blundering Bombastic Below Belt Bellowing Blues BRAYing Blogger.

  10. I take exception to you characterizing my midsection a s a mere "beer-belly". I made this gut the old-fashioned way! I EARNED it by chewing!

  11. Glad you enjoyed. Now let's get back to the topic of children's books. Better yet, hopefully some other readers can join the fun.


    If my Leitzanus was too sharp, let me know and I'll remove it.

  12. No. Such Seussian poetry should stand לנצח. It was all in good fun . I had a real belly laugh


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